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Full text of "NightRider"

CHAPTER XIV

THE trees were getting on toward leaf, now. But you could
still see through their branches, across the square to the court-
house, and beyond. When they were in full leaf, you couldn't.
Then, above the massy depth of the green, you could only see
the roof of the courthouse and the squat, square brick tower
with the clock. That happened all at once. For a while after
the buds began you could see the individual boughs hung
with that uncertain, irregular green that in the fading light,
as now, seemed grey, or seemed, on the very highest boughs
where the last ray of sun struck, a pale gold. For a while,
day after day, there would be the boughs, visible and indi-
vidual, and through them you could see the courthouse, the
benches under the trees, and the buildings on the other side
of the square; then suddenly, one morning, you could see
nothing, or for the first time you realized that you could see
nothing, and you were surprised as though it had all hap-
pened, at one stroke, that night. The season had turned.

Mr. Munn kept on looking out of the window of his office
at the leafing trees. He was thinking that things were as
they were, you thought, and then, even as you looked, were
not. There was, for instance, that small pain in the side, a
stitch, nothing more, something so familiar that you scarcely
noticed it, part of the unvarying, permeating medium in
which your being was supported; then it was that no longer,
it was cancer, it was death. Death grew in you like the leaves
on the trees in spring, gentle and tender and unobtrusive,
and then, in the moment of knowledge, was already luxuriant,
full-blown, blotting out the familiar objects. If not the small
pain in the side, some word you spoke, some careless gesture,
some momentary concession to vanity, some burst of pity, or
some trivial decision—that was the bud, the leaf swelling
toward recognition,

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